Ernakulam houses Cochin, the most crowded and commercially forward city in Kerala. In and around the city are the most popular tourism centers in Ernakulam. Cochin is given the title “The queen of the Arabian sea” and it houses India’s most important Sea port and naval base.
The city is a mix of cultures. It has always been a favorite destination for explorers and foreign traders. Cochin had trade relations with the west from time immemorial. It was the first place to be occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British at the beginning of colonialism. It is a heritage city. Once you reach Fort Cochin, the western part of cochin, it is like being in a historic town with views of old buildings aging hundreds of years built in British architecture, Jew synagogues and palaces.
Ernakulam is located at 9°59′N 76°17′E / 9.98°N 76.28°E with an average elevation of 4 m (13 ft) above sea level.
How to reach Ernakulam:
By Air: The cochin International airport (Nedumbassery international airport) is at almost 19 kilometers from the city. It has flights to domestic as well as international destinations. Tourist from international destinations and distant places in India usually prefer this mode of transportation.
By ship: The shipyard is located near the heart of the city. International passenger ships like Queen Mary occasionally visit Kochi. Ships are available between Lakshadweeps and Cochin in most days.
By Train: Ernakulam has two railway stations, Ernakulam North Railway station and Ernakulam South railway station or Ernakulam Junction. The south railway station is the major station in Ernakulam and is about 2 kilometers from the city. There are trains at all times connecting Ernakulam and other destinations in India.
By Road: There are two Highways NH47 and NH 17 passing through Ernakulam.
Most popular Tour destinations in Ernakulam:
The Chinese fishing nets are a major attraction to tourists visiting Fort Kochi. They are large nets horizontally immersed in water for a short span of time about 3 to 4 minutes with the help of large wooden structures. The structure is precisely balanced to be operated by one man’s weight.
This palace was built by the Portuguese in 16th century and was gifted to Veera Kerala Varma, then ruler of Cochin. Though by the Portuguese, it was built in Kerala style architecture. Today it is under the archaeological department of India and exhibits the portraits, murals, military and domestic equipments and the glorious history of Cochin.
It is located in Cochin very near to the Mattachery Palace and was built in the 16th century. It is the oldest synagogue among the Common Wealth Nations. This was built by the Jewish Community in Cochin at the time.
It is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala showcasing all and everything ranging from footwear to military equipments used by the rajas in Cochin. Located near Tripunithara in Ernakulam, it was built by the Maharajas of Cochin in 1865.
Built in 1503 AD it is the oldest European church in India. Though protected by the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’ the church is owned by the CSI (Church of South India). It is open for visitors on week days and has services on Sundays and other important days.
6. Cherai Beach:
This is a 15 kilometer long golden beach with shallow waters and ideal for swimming and sun bathing. The beach is located at Vypin island just 25 kilometers from the city center. Beach resorts and cottages are available adjacent to the beach. The specialty of Cherai beach is that it is between two water bodies, a lagoon on one side and the Arabian sea on the other side.
1. Marine Drive:
It is one of the most popular places in Ernakulam for the local as well as for foreigners. It is a walk way adjacent to the lagoon with a good view of the Cochin shipyard. Boat services through the ‘kayal’ (another name for lagoon) are available there.
2. Bolgatty Palace:
This is located in the Bolgatty island in cochin. It was a palace built by the dutch in 1744 but now it is modified into a government run heritage hotel with all the modern facilities.
3. Willingdon Island:
It is a man-made island located in Cochin. The island is home for the Indian Navy, a few hotels and business centers.
It is one of the most important pilgrim centers in Kerala. In Kerala the seeds of Christianity were sown by St. Thomas the apostle himself during the 1st century AD, more than a thousand years before the westerners landed here. It is said that due to hostile natives he hid on this hilltop and prayed here and left his foot print on a rock.
It is the birth place of Adi Shankara, a great Indian philosopher.
3. Thrikkakkara Temple:
It is one of the few temples in Kerala that worships Lord Vamana who has a major role in the Kerala festival Onam. The temple is famous for its Ona Sadya or Onam feast.